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Attendees gather on Main Street for Sykesville's Craft Beer Festival on Saturday, Nov. 9. The event drew about 10,000, setting a record.
Attendees gather on Main Street for Sykesville's Craft Beer Festival on Saturday, Nov. 9. The event drew about 10,000, setting a record. (Photo Courtesy of the Downtown Sykesville Connection)

After making a few changes, Sykesville’s annual Craft Beer Festival broke attendance records.

About 10,000 attended the beer festival Saturday, Nov. 9, according to Julie Della-Maria, director of the Downtown Sykesville Connection. She said attendance was up 20% over last year.

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“Modifications to our previous large footprint had to be made to ensure the safety of our visitors with respect to liquor license boundaries and busy traffic detours,” said Della-Maria. “So we reviewed our maps, were creative with placements and selective with participants.”

The festival’s success comes as the Downtown Sykesville Connection is preparing for Merry Main Street and Santa’s Arrival and Christmas Tree Lighting.

Councilwoman Stacy Link noted the record-setting attendance at Sykesville’s town council meeting Tuesday night.

“By evidence by number of ticket sales sold, it was a record,” Link said.

At the meeting, Sykesville Police Chief Michael Spaulding reported that even with the large number of people, there were only few minor issues during the festival.

“I thought it really went well for the most part. We had a couple people fall down drunk, but it was isolated incidences,” Spaulding said.

The festival has evolved over the years, starting in a parking lot behind E.W. Becks in 2014, to Main Street with a chili tasting in 2015 and 2016, to a focus on beer and food trucks for the past three years.

According to Della-Maria, the success can be attributed to the selection of breweries, which was not restricted to those from Maryland, that guests could sample.

“Our guests’ sampling experience is not limited to a certain number of breweries, allowing people to try brews that they might have not considered otherwise. Dan Feehan, manager at E.W. Beck’s volunteers his time to assemble our amazing list and works the logistics of delivery," said Della-Maria. "Then our team takes over a well-oiled event organization with checkpoints and active partners, like the Sykesville Police, to make sure guests are safe and happy. We plan every detail keeping in mind the meaning of our decisions for the community and the satisfaction of our patrons.

"This is why the band selected was one with ties to the local business community, this is also why 1623 Brewing Co. was placed near Market Tavern who features their beers — for instance, that’s also why we created a ‘distillery heaven’ surrounding Patapsco Distilling Co. and brought in an axe throwing trailer.”

Della-Maria said the event was supported by M&T Bank, Granite Pro LLC, and Assist-2-sell and those partnerships "significantly improved the number and quality of the event’s amenities.”

All of the work members of the community produced an event that brought out beer lovers in record numbers.

“We had the recipe to knock it out of the ballpark," Della-Maria said, "and we did.”

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